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BBC kicks off HD balls in May

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Geek TV By Jane Hoskyn, TV Scoop

So, the BBC's first venture into the brave new world of HD TV will be balls. Football and tennis fans are to be the inaugural beneficiaries of high-definition pictures from the Beeb, with the World Cup and Wimbledon to be screened in HD.

What a missed opportunity. High-def will surely be wasted on footy fans, who'll be too distracted by the cocktail of beer and testosterone charging through their veins to notice that you can make out the moustache of the woman in row 17 of the Gottlieb Daimler Stadion. The tennis fans will be too posh to care. A true Wimbledon lady watches the action on a nine-inch Magnavox black and white set, or from the Pimm's stand.

What the BBC should have done is launch HD with their new series of Doctor Who. The Geek TV geekometer would go up to 11. But it's some comfort to know that, even in plain old low-def, Who is good enough to bag multiple nominations for the 2006 Hugo Awards, aka the Science Fiction Achievement Awards. The new series also continues to attract an embarrassment of high-calibre actors, with latest additions including Marc Warren from Clocking Off, and Shirley Henderson, best known as Bridget Jones's mate Jude.

Meanwhile the Sci Fi Channel turned to retail therapy to survive the harsh winter. Its spending spree has resulted in a fabulous new summer wardrobe, with top billing going to Angel, in all its five-series vampire-nobbling glory. Other acquisitions include four Stephen King mini-series and Kirkfuls of Star Trek programming, including the digitally remastered original series.

Our TV tastebuds were also tickled this week by news of 26 brand new episodes of Futurama. This unexpected announcement came from the horse's mouth: actor Billy West, who plays Fry. "They're doing 26 new episodes for TV and we're hammering out the deal now," revealed Billy on his website earlier this week. "I'm totally jammed, dude." Twenty-four hours later, Billy realised that this news existed wholly inside his own head. "Guys, I'm sorry I gave inaccurate info," came the update. "DXC enlightened me (with a hammer). I do live to give good Futurama news to people. So I must've died or something."

Five to watch this week:

A For Andromeda, Monday 27 March, BBC4
The 1961 sci-fi classic gets a 21st century update in this classy drama starring Kelly Reilly and Jane Asher.

TV Heaven, Telly Hell, Tuesday 28 March, More4
Celebs throw their most hated TV shows into a square-eyed Room 101 whilst being needled gently by comedian Sean Lock.

Derren Brown: Trick of the Mind, Thursday 30 March, E4
In which everyone's favourite manipulative mentalist makes the sun disappear in the Nevada desert. E4 re-spins his 2005 special Messiah on Wednesday.

Green Wing, Friday 31 March, C4
Brand new series of the berserk hospital comedy.

Life on Mars, Sunday 2 April, BBC4
This repeat run of the brilliant first series is still more than a week away, but set your PVRs now. You hear me?

Certified gadget obsessives Tech Digest and Shiny Shiny scour Gizmoville for the oddest digital goodies while StarTrip has the latest celeb tittle tattle.

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